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How You Can Make the Most of December in HR

Posted by Richard Grove

 Christmas is always a tough time for professionals working in HR, especially HR Directors. As a HR recruiter, I’m always torn as to whether I’m looking forward to Christmas or not, from a work perspective at least. Whilst I must note that I absolutely love Christmas, it can have a negative effect on the workforce or those on the market. So with so much going on in December how do you keep motivated and keep productivity up at work in December? In this quick 2 minute read I'll look to give you the best ways to combat December head on, keep the best talent coming in right up until Christmas and ultimately start the New Year off in the right way.

Christmas is a great time to plan for the year ahead and finish off any existing projects but for some businesses, Christmas can prove to be challenging. So what are the most common issues facing HR in companies during this festive period? Well, I've listed the top four positives and negatives that keep coming up when I speak with HR professionals:

Pros Cons
Secret Santa Recruitment delays which can lead to a negative experience for new candidates
Drinking on a school night isn’t frowned upon Availability to meet/interview with senior staff/ key stakeholders is near impossible
An endless supply of food on desks   Sickness
Great morale  An influx of annual leave

1. Recruitment delays

All the above in the “Cons” section are a recurring issue that several businesses face during the Christmas period, but for those who can combat the above have an excellent chance of starting the New Year on the front foot. 

But how do you combat these issues? Whilst I’d be keen to hear how HR directors and HR managers combat Sickness and the flurry of annual leave, I have listed my thoughts below on the other areas: 

Be clear on how desperate you are to get this person/s in; 

Is it business critical?  
What impact will it have if you push the recruitment into January?
Do you or your team have the time and capacity to recruit this person?
Do you have the budget to recruit and what is the difference in costs between recruiting direct or via an agency?

2. Availability

Relating to interviews, is it possible to block out time in someone’s diary in advance so that you have pre-agreed interview slots? The further ahead of time where you can book such meetings the greater chance that candidates can make arrangements. Remember it's important to consider what impact a delayed or cancelled meeting may have on your brand or chances of securing the best talent?

3. Motivating staff

It's imperative to keep staff motivated throughout December in the lead up to Christmas. With shopping, partying and socialising all ramping up towards holidays employees can sometimes check out both entally and physically. The best way to combat this is to try to create a fun environment. Having spoken with a number of HR Directors some of the best suggestions that I've encountered are:
Team competitions
Be a bit flexible when it comes to working hours – If people need to leave earlier or start slightly later, this can have a very good effect on morale.
Gee up the troops! Set short term and long term targets and highlight wins, no matter how big or small

4. Plan your year

While the new year may seem like a hazy dot on the horizon it'll come round a lot quicker than you think. Have a plan and get working on it so that when January comes around you aren't blindsided by a hundred different things and lose focus on the bigger picture. Discuss plans for next year and in particular what your staff's personal goals are. If you can visualise the end goal or measure the success, how are you going to get these?  

What do you want to achieve next year?
What do you want to change in your life?
How are you going to measure success?
What do you need to do for the remainder of the year to start on the front foot for next year?

While it can be easy to let December slip away and get swept up in all the jollities of the season, being organised and planning ahead can really minimise the impact that Christmas has on your business. If you manage to really nail your HR functions in December ahead of the January rush then you'll hit the ground running in January.


For more information about this article, or to speak to Richard about your recruiting needs or  HR jobs in London or Nationwide, contact him on 02072696353 or



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